Alphabetization of search results query

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Haruo's picture

Today I ran across the variant of Neale's translation of Gloria, laus et honor that begins "Glory and praise and honor", in the 1883 Baptist Hymnal, and I decided to use it as a test case to practice serious searching in the database, to see in particular if I could determine whether the variant predated 1883 (the answer is yes, there's an attestation from the Presbyterian Hymnal of, I think, 1877 or 1878, in the database), but I was struck by the fact that the list of hymnals generated by the search engine was mostly, but not perfectly, alphabetized. It yielded this list:

Angelic Songs #d60
Book of Gems for the Sunday School #d20
The Baptist Hymnal. Shaped notes ed. #d162
The Baptist Hymnal, for Use in the Church and Home #d161
The Baptist Standard Hymnal with Responsive Readings #d132

Carmina for the Sunday School #d68
Carmina for Social Worship #d66

Concordia: a Collection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs #d64
Carols of Hope #d29
Children's Praise and Worship #d36
Choral Song #d52

Gospel Carols #d48
Glad Tidings #d37
Hymns of Worship and Service for the Sunday School #d68
Hymns of Worship and Service for the Sunday School #d67
The National Baptist Hymnal #d150
The National Baptist Hymn Book #d157
The New Era of Song #d40
Northfield Hymnal #d48
Palmer's Book of Gems for the Sunday School #d20

to cite just the first page of results. Note the items I have bolded, which are not in alphabetical order (though close). Can someone explain to me how this program alphabetizes; as a non-techie, I would expect alphabetization of ASCII characters to be a very straightforward thing that a computer would not treat in this ... cavalier? ... slipshod? ... manner.



Hymanals are ordered by the "titlePlain" field, which is normally the title with punctuation, leading articles, etc. stripped. It's not visible to most users but editors can see it when editing a hymnal I believe. It is recreated each night, so it is possible (if someone edits a title or there are other changes to the database) for the title to appear out of order for a day.

For hymn texts and tunes the answer is more complex, and there is a 'cache' table that is updated each night, so stranger things can happen to the sort order.

Harry Plantinga
CCEL Director

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